Three of the latest wearable devices on test – the Fossil Q Explorist, Kate Spade Scallop Touchscreen smartwatch and the Mobvoi Ticwatch E – run on the Wear OS smartwatch platform. So what is Wear OS, is it the best choice for you, and what else is on test?
We’ve also tested the latest activity tracker from Garmin – the Vivofit 4 – plus the feature-packed Polar M430 fitness watch.
Two of the wearables on test impressed us so much when it came to accuracy, ease of use and comfort that we named them Best Buys. Read on to learn about the devices on test, and to find out more about Wear OS.
Best Buy smartwatches – see which models topped our testing
What is Wear OS?
Wear OS, which was previously known as Android Wear, is a dedicated smartwatch operating system based on the Android smartphone platform that lets you receive and respond to notifications and install apps.
It was initially implemented by a range of brands, including Asus, LG, Motorola and Sony, but has more recently been adopted by other big names – including Fossil and their brands, such as Kate Spade. It’s designed to work best with Android smartphones, although it is also compatible with iPhones.
We’ve got the latest results for three Wear OS smartwatches from our test lab – see below to find out more about the models on test, or head over to our guide on how to buy the best Wear OS smartwatch to find out more about the operating system.
Wear OS smartwatches
Fossil Q Explorist – £279
At 180 grams, this mammoth Wear OS smartwatch is the heaviest we’ve ever tested. It’s available in six colours, including three options with a stainless-steel strap and three leather-strap options. Android smartphone users can receive notifications, craft replies and use Google Assistant on their wrist. In our full Fossil Q Explorist review we reveal whether this heavy weight smartwatch deserves a place on your wrist.
Kate Spade Scallop Touchscreen Smartwatch – £269
The signature Kate Spade scallop-edged bezel gives this smartwatch a feminine twist and apps that can match your watch face to your outfit make it clear that this is for the fashion-forward user.
It’s the first wearable from the American fashion designer that runs on Wear OS, but does that make this attractive smartwatch the next must-have fashion accessory? You can find out by reading our full Kate Spade Scallop Touchscreen Smartwatch review.
Mobvoi Ticwatch E – £150
Available for less than £150, the Mobvoi Ticwatch E is aimed at those who don’t want to spend a fortune on a Wear OS smartwatch. It has Google Assistant for voice control, and built-in GPS and a heart-rate monitor. Could this budget device be the smart choice to save you money? Find out in our full Mobvoi Ticwatch E review.
Fitness watches and activity trackers
Garmin Vivofit 4 – £70
This wrist-worn activity tracker has classic Garmin style, and does all the basics we’d expect from the brand, such as tracking steps and calories. So is it accurate and comfortable enough to make it worthwhile picking up this simple activity tracker? You can find out by reading our full Garmin Vivofit 4 review.
Polar M430 – £190
This fitness watch has a wrist-based heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS and 100 sport profiles, ranging from yoga to martial arts. There’s also an altimeter, a barometer for measuring altitude and ascent, and the Polar Sleep Plus feature that tracks and gives insights into sleep quality. It also has a built-in ‘fitness test’ which will predict your VO2 Max (your maximum oxygen consumption) and recommend a training category for you.
So does this plethora of fitness functions add up to a Best Buy fitness watch? You can find out in our full Polar M430 review.
Which wearable is right for me?
Smartwatches are certainly a versatile tech accessory, but they can be expensive, and depending on what you want to use them for, a fitness tracker may be a cheaper option. Our interactive quiz below can help you decide whether one of these, or perhaps a fitness watch, is the right wearable for you.
Still not sure? Find out more about the features on offer by heading our guide on should I buy a fitness tracker or a smartwatch?.